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It was at that base camp where I met a BMW MOA member who happened to set up his tent at the site adjacent to mine. When we were chatting, I realized the one thing I forgot to pack was chain lube! He pulled some out of his bag and helped me lube my chain. I had not been aware of the BMW MOA, but here he was, helping me out, and the next day he served as my tour guide as we rode together for a couple of hours. I continued on through Banff, and to see


the contrast of how humans use nature, I went from recreating in the mountains to an open-pit coal mine tour in the moun- tains of southeastern British Columbia. The huge trucks there looked like miniature toys moving across the landscape, but their tires were twice as tall as me. I continued on to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, where a First Nations elder who worked at the UNESCO World Heritage Site took me aside and said a prayer over me in his native


Blackfoot language. He closed by looking at me, and positioning his hands as if riding a motorcycle, he solemnly said, “You are making your own path.” I headed south through Waterton Lakes


National Park and rode the winding Beartooth Highway 212 on the border of Montana and Wyoming into Yellowstone National Park. I made my way back to Seat- tle via the Northern Cascades. Most of my time leading up to the trip, I


had tapped the knowledge of others, bene- fiting from the advice of those I randomly met and from the (usually male) folks who worked at my local BMW shop (South Sound Motorcycles), Touratech, and Puget Sound Safety through their motorcycle maintenance course. Right around the mid- point of my motorcycle road trip, there was a shift in reliances. Other motorcyclists, some of whom had been on the road a long time, started asking me for advice, and after seeing the equipment and creative camping


meals I had, inquired and took notes. I transitioned to a position where I could now offer tips, ideas or even solutions. Women observed me and considered that it might actually be possible for them to ride, too. That friend who first introduced me to motorcycles is now asking my advice as he packs and plans for his big trip. Me, the newbie female rider. Maybe it’s my academic background that


makes me think it is important to remem- ber and try to cite the sources of the infor- mation I utilize. Maybe giving credit is my expression of gratitude. Regardless, I think there are a fair number of men out there who help women realize their potential on motorcycles. You may not always know the progress of those you encourage or coach, but I am one of those. We do take off—and we make our own paths.


Gazing across the seemingly end-of-the world landscape on the winding Beartooth Highway 212 between Montana and Wyoming.


June 2016 BMW OWNERS NEWS


71


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